BATON ROUGE, La. -- Southern University arrived in force to welcome back East Baton Rouge Parish students as they arrived on the first day of school. The volleyball team welcomed the students from Claiborne Elementary School while the soccer team welcomed the students from Progress Elementary School for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

Cory McCain, the Associate Director of Academic Services built a relationship with Claiborne during the Spring of 2019. Southern Athletics chose several schools in the community and was well received by Claiborne. The relationship formed through a partnership with VIPS (volunteers in public schools). The student-athletes read to first-grade classrooms every week during the spring semester.

Southern ended the year with a "Lunch with the Jags" event.

"During the past summer, we met with Claiborne leadership setup by VIPS, Southern discussed the first-day event and will continue a weekly event with the students," stated McCain.

"Thank you so much for helping to welcome public school students back to school," said Taylor Blanchard volunteer and community partners director.

The City of Baton Rouge welcomed students around the Baton Rouge Metro area on August 8.